Amherst Tops Middlebury

January 25, 2008

Amherst (14-2, 3-0) shot 49 percent from the floor and put four players in double-figures as they earned an 83-66 NESCAC road win at Middlebury (13-3, 2-1). The win is the eighth straight for the Jeffs, who return to action at Williams on Saturday. The Panthers see their five-game winning streak come to an end, as they host Trinity on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Defending national champion Amherst entered the game ranked third nationally, as they topped the Panthers before a crowd of 955 in Pepin Gym.

Amherst came out strong early in the first half, connecting on 10 of its first 16 shots to hold a 26-13 lead with 9:36 left in the first half. Andrew Olson sparked the Jeffs run, with seven points in the early going. Middlebury answered with a 9-0 run to cut the advantage to 26-20 at the 7:09 mark. The teams exchanged hoops before Amherst went on a 9-0 run of its own to claim a 38-22 lead with 2:42 left in the first half. Ryan Wholey came off the bench to spark Middlebury late in the half, hitting a pair of three's with an assist and steal to make it a 40-30 game at the intermission.

The Panthers came within seven early in the second half on a hoop from Tim Edwards, but Amherst continued its hot shooting. The Jeffs led by a dozen midway through the half, before connecting on three straight from behind the arc, a pair by Steven Wheeler, to take a 60-43 lead with 10:12 left to play. Middlebury made a few short runs in the final 10 minutes, but Amherst answered each time and maintained a double-digit lead.

Ashton Coghlan led Middlebury with 11 points, while Aaron Smith had nine points and 11 boards. Ben Rudin dished out seven assists in the game for the Panthers. Brandon Jones led Amherst with a game-high 18 points, Olson and Fletcher Walters added 17 apiece, while Kevin Hopkins netted 10. Olson earned seven assists, Walters grabbed 11 boards, while Hopkins picked up four blocks on the night.